Ryan Robertson has signed a letter-of-intent make that a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Knights of the American Basketball Association.
"This felt like recruiting again," said Robertson, a former high school standout from St. Charles, Mo., who chose Kansas University over St. Louis U. and the University of Missouri in recruiting six years ago.
On Tuesday, the 6-foot-5 combo guard tapped the Knights over the IBL's St. Louis Swarm and a professional team in Italy.
"This was a pretty tough decision, but not as tough as KU, St. Louis and Missouri," Robertson said. "The fact (coach) Kevin Pritchard is here has a lot to do with me being here. That and the fact there are a lot of NBA names associated with this league.
"Also, it's Kansas City a neat town close to Lawrence. And to be honest, there's a little bit more money here. I'm really excited to be back in this neck of the woods."
Robertson he was on the injured reserve list of the NBA's Sacramento Kings last season is on a one-year deal, terms undisclosed, with the Knights.
He's hoping to return to the NBA some day.
But for now. ...
"I'm going to do all I can to help this team win games," Robertson said. "I'm excited Nick Bradford (former Jayhawk) is also on the roster. He's one of the reasons I signed. Hopefully we'll get some other players who will help us win games."
Knights coach Pritchard was ecstatic in announcing Robertson's signing Tuesday.
"We wanted Ryan Robertson. We recruited the heck out of him," said Pritchard, like Robertson, a former KU guard. "He's a cornerstone of our organization. He is unselfish, a proven leader, a proven winner. He's the kind of guy others want to play with."
Pritchard sees Robertson as both a point and shooting guard in the pro league.
"He's a great fit for us," Pritchard said. "We're going to be an up-and-down-the-court, high-scoring team and we need players that make good, quick decisions.
"We want him to be more aggressive offensively. I want him shooting or creating shots. In our league we can play zone, man, anything. Ryan is so tall, he can bother other players defensively. He can get to their shots."
Robertson reports to training camp on Dec. 1. The inaugural ABA season starts Dec. 26. The ex-Jayhawk is ready for this challenge.
"Let's face it, there are a lot of good players in the country. The fact of the matter is there are not a lot of NBA spots available," Robertson said. "The Sacramento Kings said they liked me, but had too many guaranteed contracts. For myself, instead of going to Italy or Spain, I feel more comfortable back here. Kansas City is a great fit."
Robertson, you may recall, was booed every time he touched the ball during the four games he played at Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo.
The fans still have not forgiven the St. Louis-area prep for choosing KU.
He reports rude treatment while sitting in the stands at last Saturday's KU-Mizzou football game in Columbia.
"I was sitting near the student section. They were pretty intense in yelling things at me. I was in those seats about four minutes," Robertson said.
"I went over to the Kansas section and felt a little more protected, but I had to leave at halftime. I had to get out of there. It was a pretty bad situation. I can't believe they recognized me."
Robertson said the abuse was verbal. Nobody threw objects at him.
Robertson and Pritchard have something in common: "My biggest asset is I refuse to lose. It's how I'll coach," Pritchard said. "What kind of player is Ryan? He's a winner. He does not want to lose. He is a lot better player than I'll ever be."
Roy Williams spoke to Pritchard about Robertson.
"Absolutely," Pritchard said of his former coach. "One thing coach told me was, 'Your job is to win games.' He did not twist my arm to get Ryan but made it clear Ryan helps you win games.'''